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Which article is correct in the following sentence (if any):

Requirements must be defined at the/a start of a project.

If "the" is correct, then could you please explain why? Why do we need an article here at all?

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'The' is necessary and required, because there is only one start of a project, and unique items are preceded by the definite article. You may find websites such as Grammar Monster useful:

The definite article is the word "the." It is used before a noun to define it as something specific (e.g., something previously mentioned or known, something unique, or something being identified by the speaker).

Definite article

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